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Armadillo toy, Temalacatzingo, Mexico, 1980s

This Mexican toy has been made from a gourd. The fruit was cut in half and hollowed out to make the armadillo’s body, with a piece of wood fixed over the hole. Sticks for legs and tail were stuck onto the body, and a waggling wooden head hung from a hook inside. Black lines have been painted to look like armadillo scales.

Although an armadillo has scales like a snake or fish, it is in fact a mammal. The scales form a shell of small bony plates that let the armadillo curl up into a ball, like a giant woodlouse.

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